Osaka film fest goes global


Osaka may be known to connoisseurs and gluttons alike as the “kitchen of Japan,” however a film festival in the third-largest city of the nation is doing all it can to portray a different picture.

The Osaka Asian Film Festival is an annual event that began in 2006. Every year, the event offers movie buffs a generous eyeful of Asian cinema, and since last year, the festival organizers’ efforts were rewarded with a four-fold increase in the amount of funding they get from the Japan Arts Fund.

This year, around 40 films will be screened over a weeklong period, and the event will take place at ABC Hall and Cine Nouveau in March.

The theme of this year’s program is “From Osaka to All of Asia,” and in the spirit of international friendship it will feature a new international competition section.

“The competition will be exciting because there will be not only movies made by Japanese directors, but also those by foreign directors,” says Aki Mihara, a spokesperson for the festival committee.

“The movies on show will cross borders, creating an international backdrop for the festival,” says Mihara. “As long as the content of the film is related to Asia, it will be accepted into the competition.”

This prerequisite allows for a broad range of options. Films to watch out for this year from the Special Screenings Section are “Love Addiction,” Nobuteru Uchida’s complex story of romance, and “The Housemaid,” a remake of the controversial thriller by highly acclaimed Korean cinema “monster,” Kim Ki Young. From the competition lineup, “Hong Kong Confidential” is also definitely one to watch. Making its international premiere, the film, directed by Maris Martisons and starring Japanese starlet Kaori Momoi. It was Latvia’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars this year, but failed to make the shortlist.

The Osaka Asian Film Festival runs from March 5-12 at the ABC Hall and Cine Nouveau in Osaka (¥1,000 for advance tickets and ¥1,200 on the day of the screening). For tickets, call (0570) 02-9999, or visit www.oaff.jp.